Restoration, Reformation and the progress of the Kingdom of Christ : evangelisation in the thought and practice of John Calvin, 1555-1564
This thesis attempts to outline Calvin's practice of evangelisation in the period 1555-64 and to identify the theological basis for this activity as it is expressed in his works. It is argued that during the last ten years of his life Calvin was preoccupied with the propagation of the Gospel in France and western Europe and that echoes of this preoccupation may be discerned in his publications dating from this period. There are three parts to the thesis. Part I is chiefly historical and has two aims. The first is to convey, by a detailed study of the primary sources (including unpublished ecclesiastical correspondence), the full extent of the evangelistic enterprise which arose in Geneva after 1555 and of Calvin's role in it. The second is to show that a series of Lectures on the Old Testament Prophets which Calvin gave in 'the school' at Geneva was addressed to people caught up in this missionary endeavour and is to be read in this light. Part I concludes by identifying two themes which permeate these and other related theological expositions: 'the progress of the Kingdom of Christ 1 and 'the restoration (or reformation) of the Church'. The missionary content of these themes is established in Parts II and III of the thesis, which are consequently more theological. The sustained parallel between Part II of the thesis (which is devoted to the ecclesiological aspects of these themes) and Part III (which is devoted to their soteriological aspects) bears witness to the close connection between ecclesiology and soteriology which is characteristic of Calvin's thought about evangelisation. The identification and elucidation of this parallel is perhaps the single most important contribution made by this thesis.